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Hiking solo....or not?

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Re: Hiking solo....or not?

Postby SSSdave » Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:06 pm

Not at all a simple issue to discuss and here I'll just make a few points.

As some have said, IT DEPENDS...

Situations on the trail are not that much different than entering conversations with strangers in urban settings Like with those one may be waiting in some line with for whatever reason like at a bank or supermarket check-out, a person in the next seat on a bar stool, the person next to you on an airline flight or bus, a guy fishing on the shore you are passing by or vice versa. A long long list of situations with a broad list of types and behaviors of participants. Even in urban settings, there are simply some personalities who do not really enjoy talking even to their friends. Ever sit next to someone like that at a social function and try to engage them in conversation? After a couple of simple openings one ought sense the situation and just move on. Additionally on remote trails one ought understand a reason many solo hikers seek out such remote places is to flow along without interactions with other people. So people coming across others ought be aware of that and respect such.

It is part of a person's social nature to be able to assess what is appropriate in every situation. As we mature, most of us get better at it while others never do. For a person that has developed a strong wise social intelligence that can pay enormous benefits in work and social environments. Some people are very timid, reserved, and or shy. Or someone may be in a temporary bad mood for whatever reason and only want to be left to stew alone. Heck maybe you just ran into them after they had taken a nap for a couple hours and are still groggy. Others may be annoying, obnoxious, rude, and aggressive. Like the person in your story, some may be oblivious to the perceptions of other parties. Some talkative people are both great talkers and great listeners while others dominate talking usually rambling on about their own experience without seeming to care that the other party might have something to say and when they do are quick to interrupt. Often those overly talkative tend to not be aware of usual non-verbal signals from other parties to back off. And just because one party pleasantly enjoins one in an initial conversation doesn't necessarily mean they are going to want to continue to do so beyond a brief interchange.

Personally I tend to be reserved around strangers feeling uncomfortable engaging others in conversation without reason unless it is normal to do so in a situation. However I do enjoy conversation and when I meet an intelligent stranger that seems to share that gift, may readily engage them in a lively discussion. And how long that lasts depends...


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Re: Hiking solo....or not?

Postby bikebones » Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:01 pm

I think this often comes down to E.I. ; Emotional Intelligence. I enjoy both hiking solo and with partners. When hiking solo, I like to interact with hikers I come across, but I try to be very cognizant of facial, body, and verbal language to determine just how much the hiker wants to engage or conversely, NOT engage in conversation and shooting the breeze. Usually you can tell within a few sentences, and then act accordingly by moving on quickly if it's apparent the other hiker(s) don't particularly want more interaction.

It's funny to read about the "stalker groups" some have documented here. Heck, it's NOT hard to lose people out there! Just step off the trail a few and let them go by if you can't outrun them. Yes, you'll lose some time and have to alter your plans a bit, but it's your choice. =]

Great topic!

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